Ordinance would provide ‘cleaner process’ to form ULID

Four years ago, Kitsap County commissioners rejected a $1.1 million project to extend a sewer line along Colchester Drive because of problems with the petition process.

But Stella Vakarcs, senior program manager for the Kitsap County Public Works Department, said the county is working on a “cleaner process” to form a Utility Local Improvement District (ULID).

She gave a presentation of forming a ULID during a meeting of the town’s Citizen Advisory Board on May 7. About 30 people attended the public meeting.

Vakarcs said commissioners and the Sewer Utility Division have been working to develop an ordinance to clarify the formation by petition process.

“This is not just for Manchester, but for the entire county,” Vakarcs noted.

A public hearing on the ordinance is set in June. “This will be the process we used for ULIDs.”

In 2009, the county found the RCW hadn’t been updated in years and it created some issues that caused problems, such as a time limit on petitions and requirement of signatures.

“We weren’t trying to charge the RCW, just trying to clarify things so if anyone wanted to form a ULID, we have a cleaner process that people can follow,” Vakarcs said.

According to Vakarcs, the county’s Health District in 2009 required some residents to repair their septic tanks and there wasn’t good communication between the Health District and Public Works.

She said commissioners asked Public Works to look at the process to form a ULID.

In order to expand sewer lines, formation of a ULID is required. A ULID is a mechanism to finance sewer extensions by assessing property owners the cost to pay for the design and construction of the sewer. All property owners would share in the cost.

If a ULID is established, all properties within the ULID boundaries will be  charged for the construction of sewers. A property’s proportionate share of the construction will be owned regardless of whether the property connects or not.

State law requires that 51 percent of the property owners in the proposed ULID must sign a petition in support of the project or a resolution by commissioners of the district. Individuals with larger acreage or multiple lots have more say than single lot owners

Vakarcs said her department is working on a sewer facility plan for Manchester to look at its collection system.

“We’re not required to have a sewer facility plan because they are not in the UGA (Urban Growth Area), but I want to have a plan in case people came forward and wanted sewers,” she said. “It also gives us preliminary cost.”

Vakarcs said there are UGAs in Kingston and Central Kitsap where the county has sewers and areas such as Keyport that are similar to Manchester in limited rural areas.

In 2009, 66 property owners in the district would had been assessed an estimated $17,882 per lot, along with an additional $8,000 to $10,000 for equipment, installation, connection fees and other costs to hook up to sewer services.

The event was sponsored by the Manchester Citizens Advisory Council, the Manchester Community Association and Kitsap Regional Library on behalf of the citizens that have expressed an interest to extend sewers within the Manchester area.

The ULID process will tie-in with future updates on the development of the Manchester Sewer Facility Plan.


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